Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks (MA Frameworks)

Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Group (MAG) policy

Scottish Government has recently communicated to all SSC/SSB Chief Executives that it continues to support the development of SVQs and views these qualifications as the cornerstone of the Modern Apprenticeship Programme in Scotland and as the key competence based qualification for Scotland.

In addition to SVQs, Modern Apprenticeship policy does permit other forms of competence based qualifications to be included within a Scottish MA Framework.  However, the expectation is that the preferred competence based qualification is the SVQ.  It is acknowledged, that there could be scenarios where an SSC, working through the NOS Programme, wishes to develop an alternative competence based qualification in conjunction with Awarding Bodies who represent their sector.  Scottish Government will accept this providing that:

  • there is clear historical evidence that the sector has not supported SVQs (ie SVQs in the sector have had little or no take up)
  • there is clear and significant evidence of support from Scottish employers that SVQs are not the preferred qualification.  (Evidence must include support from Scottish employers rather than UK wide employers based in Scotland, to demonstrate that the needs of Scottish employers are being met).

Where there is evidence of SVQs being currently used by the sector and the SSC wishes to move away from developing SVQs as part of the NOS Programme, then Scottish Government would expect evidence to be provided which demonstrates the support of Scottish employers as outlined above.  Additionally, this must also be reflected in the LMI which supports the Sector Qualifications Strategy.

MAG Definition of a Competence Based Qualification within a Modern Apprenticeship Framework

MAG policy states that the mandatory components of a MA Framework can be either a N/SVQ (as stated above, the preference being the SVQ), or an alternative competence based qualification.  The following criteria must be met when a competence based qualification is being used within the mandatory section of the MA Framework:

  • It must be a vocational qualification which enables the learner to demonstrate both underpinning knowledge and performance evidence of competence in a particular vocational area;
  • It must be primarily based on the most current version of NOS defined by the appropriate SSC/SSB;
  • The evidence demonstrating achievement of the qualification must be assessed within a workplace environment or, where simulation is used, within a realistic working environment as agreed by the SSC/SSB;
  • It must be accredited by SQA Accreditation;
  • From January 2010, it must be SCQF credit rated and levelled.

SVQs and Core Skills within Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks

All five Core Skills must be included in the MA Framework.  The five Core Skills are:

  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Problem Solving
  • Working with Others

All Core Skills must be applied at a minimum required level according to the level of the Modern Apprenticeship.  In some instances, different levels may be acceptable but SSCs would need to provide evidence to justify different levels.

The following table provides information, aligning MA levels with Core Skills levels. This should be used as a guide when considering a MA Framework submission.

MA level

Core Skill level


SCQF level 4


SCQF level 5


SCQF level 6


SCQF level 6

SQA Accreditation of the Mandatory Components of Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks

The Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Group’s (MAG) policy is that the mandatory components of a MA Framework can be either a N/SVQ (with the preference being the SVQ), or an alternative competence based qualification. The SVQ must be accredited by SQA Accreditation prior to the MA Framework being submitted for approval to MAG. If the SVQ is replaced by an alternative competence based qualification, then this would also need to be accredited by SQA Accreditation prior to the MA Framework being submitted for approval to MAG.

SQA Accreditation would encourage SSCs/SSBs to engage as early as possible with awarding bodies to discuss the proposed qualification requirements for the Scottish MA Frameworks.

SCQF credit and levelling of Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks

From January 2010, all new or revised MA Frameworks which are submitted to MAG for approval must have all components, where possible, SCQF credit and levelled. MAG understands that there could be some components, such as training, where it would not be feasible to allocate SCQF credit and level. In such instances, it will be acceptable to disregard these components and when submitting the MA Framework for approval, provide MAG with a rationale for not SCQF credit rating and levelling these components.